Sunday, January 31, 2010

February Main Event - Frank Sinatra Celebrity Invitational Golf Tournament

[caption id="attachment_293" align="alignright" width="203" caption="Sinatra Golf Tournament"][/caption]The 18-20th of February is the 21st annual Frank Sinatra Golf Tournament. This year it is being held at the Fantasy Springs Resort and Casino in Indio. Their Eagle Falls course is the site of the GOlf tournament while the hotel and its fine dining establishments as well as the conference center is the site of the parties, auctions, banquets and fashion show. The tournament supports the Barbara Sinatra Childrens Center at Eisenhower hospital.

Just another reason to come to the magnificent Coachella Valley!

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Palm Springs Isn't The Only Desert Community in SOCAL

[caption id="attachment_340" align="alignleft" width="150" caption="Desert Palms"][/caption]The Latest issue of Los Angeles magazinehas the coolest article about the many colorful cities that make up the Deserts of Southern California. Easily the best issue of the magazine, in my humble opinion, that they have ever done.[caption id="attachment_339" align="alignright" width="150" caption="Joshua Tree Vista"][/caption]

Covering everything from Joshua Tree, Palm Springs, Borrego Springs all the way to Death valley and leser known spots such as Amargosa Opera House and Tecopa Hot Springs. There is a great two page map with the highlights and many recommendations of places to stay and to eat.

Check it out on news stands now and if you miss it let me know and we'll make a copy of my issue if we have to!

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

This Weekend It Is The Southwest Arts Festival

The Empire Polo Grounds in Indio this weekend will host the 24th annual Southwest Arts Festival where over 270 artists will be showing and selling their work. The hours are from 10am to 5pm all three days and a three day pass is just $20. Daily admission is available as well.

The Empire Polo Grounds are south of Hwy 111 on Monroe at 51st street. Enjoy the great weather this weekend with a stoll through the Polo Grounds and the Festival.

Real Estate Is Local

[caption id="attachment_315" align="alignright" width="112" caption="Palm Trees and Sunshine in The Coachella Valley"][/caption]"WASHINGTON (MarketWatch) -- Capping the worst year for housing since World War II, sales of new U.S. homes fell sharply in December for the second month in a row after a popular tax credit for buyers was set to expire, the Commerce Department estimated Wednesday."

This headline appeared on news service wires across the country in the last few days. Network newscasts lead with the statistic of 9.3% drop in sales for the month of December. Radio stations declared the housing market to still be shaky. Well the reality is that Real Estate market is still very much local.

The Palm Springs / Coachella Valley experienced a sales increase and a median sales price increase in December 2009. National, regional or statewide statistics are useful to focus on general trends in the economy but the only way to truly understand the market you are in is to have local statistics.

These stats are:

Sept 09: 812 homes sold
Oct 09: 814 homes Sold
Nov 09: 776 homes sold
Dec 09: 915 homes sold

Median sales price during these months went from $177,500 to $193,000.

January is off to a great start and there are lots of buyers looking in the market. Offers are flowing and it seems quite busy. Not that everything is perfect and the market is certainly still challenged by finance issues and foreclosures but no one can say the Palm Springs market experienced a sales drop in December of 2009.

For more information about market conditions in Palm Springs be sure to see my website at

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Credit Card Changes Next Month

[caption id="attachment_308" align="alignright" width="100" caption="Managing Your Credit"][/caption]By now you may have heard about the changes in the credit card laws coming next month. Most stories that I have heard revolve around the great benefits and new protections for consumers that are built in. It turns out that is not the whole story.

The article linked below uncovers what the banks will be doing to verify your income. The credit reporting agencies will now be using records they obtain from many industries to "estimate your earnings" they will adjust your credit line based on what they estimate your salary is regardless of what you say it is.

The article further predicts that small business owners, who have been relying on the cards to cover gaps in income, will be the most affected by these changes. Read more about this at: Credit Card Changes Coming

Clearly a smart strategy would be to plan on a new year of not relying on your credit cards. Start now before the banks start randomly reducing your credit lines that you may be counting on. By taking action now you can avoid getting caught down the road with no options.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Rain, Rain Go Away!

An unprecedented series of storms off the coast of California has brought the Coachella Valley 4 straight days of rains. We have had some street flooding and by now everyone knows whether or not their roof leaks!

Last time it rained for many days in row - about three years ago we wound up with the prettiest green covering on the otherwise brown hillsides around Palm Springs. I am watching to see if that happens this time. It felt a little like Ireland the last time.

So until the sun comes back here is our chance to have a fire in the fireplace or clean out the closets looking for sweaters! (Did I mention it is a little cool too!)

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Supply oF Existing Inventory

The Stats Keep Coming in From year end 2009 reporting Below you will see a chart detailing the steady decline in available inventory in the Coachella Valley.

  • _______2_______       3_____          4_______
    Dec-09    6.1              6178            1011
    Nov-09    7                6621               950
    Oct-09     6.7             6569               980
    Sep-09     7.3            6478                888
    Aug-09    7.1             6586                 923
    Jul-09      7.7             6928                898
    Jun-09      7.9            7255                 924
    May-09     8.1            7678                 945
    Apr-09      7.6           8210                 1083
    Mar-09       7.5          8729                1166
    Feb-09       11.6         9080                  785
    Jan-09        11.4         9028                 794

Column 2 is the number of months it would take to sell existing
inventory if no more came on the market.
Column 3 is the # of Properties For Sale on the Last Day of Month Column 4 represent the # of Properties Under Contract end of month

While no one is declaring the Real Estate market has returned to perfect health these are very good signs that the patient is improving. Lower inventory with a steady supply of buyers means prices can begin to rise as they did in December 2009.

Monday, January 18, 2010

The Living Desert Palm Desert California


One of the great resources here in the Coachella Valley is the Living Desert in Palm Desert. Started in 1970 this interesting park is part zoo, part nature conservancy and part Desert Oasis.

Ongoing attractions include an amazing model train display located totally outdoors (you can’t do that in Des Moines or Seattle!) a Carousel, featuring endangered species, an animal hospital and regular giraffe feedings that the public can participate. Seasonally the Living Desert host dozens of other events from lecture series to parties and a holiday light show. They even sponsor trips to other natural wonders such as Whale watching in Baja and nature outings to Catalina Island.

The Living Desert has over 450 desert animals and hosts over 350,000 visitors every year the array of flora and fauna represents over 10 different ecosystems.

Opportunities to support the Living Desert abound with membership, adopt and animal programs and dozens of events throughout the year. I have been a member for 4 years now and have really enjoyed it. Learn more at

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Claiming Your First Time Home Buyer Tax Credit

If you are ready to claim your first time home buyer tax credit you will need to us the recently released Form 5405 from the IRS. Using this form first-Time Home buyer Credit and Repayment of the Credit, and the related instructions, eligible home buyers can now start to file their 2009 tax returns. Because of the late addition of this credit taxpayers claiming the home buyer credit must file a paper tax return due to the added documentation requirements.

The IRS expects to start processing 2009 tax returns claiming the home buyer credit in mid-February after it completes the updating and testing of systems to meet the law’s new requirements.

If you are one of the early taxpayers claiming the home buyer credit you may see tax refunds take an additional two to three weeks.

In addition to filling out a Form 5405, all eligible home buyers

    must include
with their 2009 tax returns one of the following documents in order to receive the credit:

* A copy of the settlement statement showing all parties' names and signatures, property address, sales price, and date of purchase. Normally, this is the properly executed Form HUD-1, Settlement Statement.
* For mobile home purchasers who are unable to get a settlement statement, a copy of the executed retail sales contract showing all parties' names and signatures, property address, purchase price and date of purchase.
* For a newly constructed home where a settlement statement is not available, a copy of the certificate of occupancy showing the owner’s name, property address and date of the certificate.

Your Realtor or closing officer should be able to help you obtain these documents easily.

Don't forget that the new law allows a long-time resident of the same principal residence to claim the home buyer credit if they purchase a new principal residence. The qualification standard is using a home as a principal residence for a five-consecutive-year period during the eight-year period ending on the purchase date of the new home. The IRS has stepped up compliance checks involving the home buyer credit, and it encouraged home buyers claiming this part of the credit to avoid refund delays by attaching documentation covering the five-consecutive-year period:

* Form 1098, Mortgage Interest Statement, or substitute mortgage interest statements,
* Property tax records or
* Homeowner’s insurance records.

With these new documentation requirements this mean that taxpayers claiming the credit cannot file electronically and must file paper returns. Don't forget that the tax credit is set to expire and you must be in contract on a home before April 30, 2010 and close before the end of June 2010.

Find out more using this link Yes, the IRS has You Tube videos! Who knew!

Saturday, January 16, 2010

New Listing Alert! Palm Desert CA

What everyone wants - a home that requires no work! Perfect Pool home on the Golf course at Palm Desert Country Club. Three Bed two Bath. Highly upgraded home. New Kitchen and Heating and air and so much more. See the property website at 76764 Kentucky Ave[caption id="attachment_247" align="alignright" width="300" caption="Palm Desert Pool Home"][/caption]

Palm Springs To Host Two Modernism Events

Palm Springs is well known as a treasure trove of "Mid Century" architecture. Some of the most stunning examples are sprinkled throughout the valley with the biggest concentration being right here in Palm Springs proper. There is even a famous coffee table book called Palm Springs Weekend that celebrates these architectural treasures in our Desert.

Two Upcoming events will celebrate this important part of the History of Palm Springs. With everything from an exhibition/sale at the convention center to movies about the architects and their creations to home tours. Certainly not to be missed for those interested in this unique bit of architectural history.

The first event is the Donald Wexler Weekend. This will take place January 22-24th and celebrate the work of this singular architect. His local contributions include The Palm Springs Airport and Larson Justice center in Indio. This event will be part of the famed architects 84th birthday celebration.

Films, home tours, lectures and parties will make for an exciting weekend. For tickets adn more information on this event be sure to visit

The second not to be missed Modernism Event is called Modernism Week. This week long celebration of of Mid Century style and architecture takes place February 12-21, 2010. Tickets and info can be found at

This is the 5th year for Modernism Week and it is reported to be bigger and better than ever!

There are 25 events scheduled with a mixture of shows, tours, films, lectures and auctions .
The activities will be held in various venues throughout the City of Palm Springs.

This year the popular architecture tours which, in the past, have been sell-outs will be offered on additional days in response to the demand.

Look for Mid Century Architecture in Palm Springs by clicking here.

Search all Palm Springs area Real Estate at

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Bob Hope Classic Golf Tournament

The La Quinta area will play host to the 50th anniversary Bob Hope Classic Golf Tournament from January 18-24th. This valley tradition is a huge part of the "season" here in Palm Springs each year.

The tournament will draw celebrities and spectators from around the world to the sunny and beautiful Coachella valley. Many people don't know that the tournament raises hundreds of thousands of dollars each year for local charities. Most of this through the Charity Ball. The celebrity entertainer this year is Queen Latifah. This year more than ever that help will be crucial to the charities.

There are still tickets available for most events and even volunteer oppportunities if you are feeling extra energetic. Click the link above to go to the main website for this stellar event.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Palm Springs Sales Statistics for Dec 2009

The numbers for December are in and we ended up the year on a very positive note. Another dip in overall inventory for sale and sales holding steady despite the holiday season.

In December of 2009 we had 70 homes & 60 condos sell with another 53 condos going into escrow and 63 homes! There were 373 homes and 433 Condos on the Market for sale to date in representing another decline in available inventory for homes and Condos.

In December 2009 there were 4 homes sold over 1 million dollars in Palm Springs. The most expensive was a $2,183,000 home in Smoke Tree Ranch, in South Palm Springs.

Palm Springs real estate represents some of the best over all retirement/vacation home prices in the otherwise pricey California real estate market. The value for the money remains very high when compared to other areas of the state. The proximity to the 22 million southern Californians makes it a perpetually popular weekend getaway. The warmth of our winters makes it the perfect place to escape the cold and snowy weather in the North. While many of our visitors and second home owners come from the Pacific Northwest more and more are coming from Canada and beyond. The ease of arriving by air has greatly increased since the expansion of the convenient Palm Springs International airport. Once a sleepy little, winter vacation spot in the California desert the 7 cities that make up the Coachella valley have blossomed into vibrant year round communities. Palm Springs offers an enviable resort lifestyle that includes over 320 days of Sunshine per year.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Palm Springs Exotic Car Auction

A great time will be had by all car enthusiasts February 26th, 27th & 28th 2010 when the next installment of the twice yearly Exotic Car Auction takes place at the Spa Resort Casino in Downtown Palm Springs. Classic Car

Last November over 450 cars were Auctioned. Everything from American Muscle cars to European Antique Roadsters. So come enjoy a great days outdoors in the heart of Palm Springs and take advantage of this unique event.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Palm Desert CA Sales Stats

Palm Desert CA Real Estate represents some of the best over all values in the otherwise pricey California real estate market. The value for the money remains very high when compared to other areas of the state. The proximity to the 22 million southern Californians makes it a perpetually popular weekend getaway. The warmth of our winters makes it the perfect place to escape the cold and snowy weather in the North. Palm Desert offers an enviable resort lifestyle that includes over 320 days of Sunshine per year. Theatre, art and culture abound with hundreds of live performances at dozens of theatres including the McCallum, by world renowned artists every year. Fine dining and world class shopping from the heavy weights of the luxury goods world – Tiffany, Saks 5th Avenue, Gucci and more grace El Paseo in Palm Desert. Loads of interesting and unique shops complement these world famous names. The Living Desert is a community resource and unique treat for Desert Visitors. A cross between a botanical garden and zoo there are activities and learning experiences for every member of the family at the The Living Desert, located at 47900 Portola Avenue just South of El Paseo.

Of course Palm Desert hosts golf tournaments including the Women’s Samsung World Championship at Big Horn Golf club.

Click here to view: Homes For Sale or Condos For Sale

So What Is Selling?

Current Sales Stats (Dec 2009): There are 370 homes and 489 condos currently for sale in Palm Desert both representing a steady decline month after month since early 2009. There are 42 homes and 48 Condos under contract in the month of December 2009. There were 56 homes and 53 condos in the sold category!

The most expensive home sold in Palm Desert in December of 2009 was a 2,000,000 Home at Bighorn Country Club in South Palm Desert. This premier country club continues to see good activity even in the challenging market we are in.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Photos Of Palm Springs California

[caption id="attachment_171" align="alignright" width="300" caption="Golf, Sun and Mountian views"][/caption]

Beautiful Palm Springs California - is a sunny Desert Playground located just 110 miles from the hustle and bustle of Los Angeles California. Use this link to see more photos of this Desert Resort and learn more about the great lifestyle available at some of the best prices in California.

With 320 plus days a year of sunshine, fabulous fifties architecture, Hollywood history and legends, breathtaking natural beauty, a convenient easy to use airport and beautiful getaway resorts Palm Springs is the place to be. See more at

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Short Leases

All Land is Not Equal In Palm Springs CA

Short Leases:

A leasehold parcel of land means that you do not own the land you are only leasing it from the actual owner. Even if there is a structure on it, that you hold title to, the lease payment only entitles you to the use of the land – subject to the terms of the lease - and not actual ownership. (When you own the land this is called “Fee Simple ownership”)

Search for homes in Palm Springs, CA

In Palm Springs, Cathedral City and parts of Rancho Mirage California up to 50% of land is lease land. This is important when looking at property because land value can’t be factored into the value of the property. Typically this means that the price of a home located on lease land will look more attractive than the same home built on fee land, where you do have to factor in the value of the land.

All leases are different and terms and conditions must be checked carefully during the buying process. One major provision in many leases is that “leasehold improvements” are sometimes made permanent fixtures to the land. You may not remove them at a later date without the express consent of the leaseholder. In some cases this may extend to other improvements such as landscaping, awnings, trellis, and gazebos – anything permanently attached to the “leasehold improvement”.

The most important provision in the lease is the start and end date. The end date of the lease needs to be 35 years or longer from the date of your purchase. The reason is that banks granting you the standard 30-year mortgage product want the lease to have a five-year pad on it beyond the life of the mortgage. If a lease has less than 35 years on it we refer to it as a short lease and you cannot get a 30-year mortgage on it. Often times this means that the best rates are unavailable to you. Potential buyers, if you wanted to sell, might not qualify as the shorter the mortgage the higher the payment.

IMPORTANT: Not all lenders will loan on lease land – some who will, will not loan if the lease is short. If you need
assistance identifying a lender to help you with a loan on lease land please feel free to contact me. If you are purchasing on lease land it is crucial that your lender know how to process these loans. I have the resources to get you to the right loan professional. Please see my website for even more information on lease land issues.

Other Considerations with Lease Land:

-If you are financing the purchase the value will only be figured on the structure and not the land itself.
-What are the terms for lease land payment increases?
-What, if any, are the preset renewal terms and conditions
-Homeowners insurance does not factor in land value so this is unaffected
-You will be paying property tax on the value of the land. The IRS has ruled that the person who enjoys substantial use of the property pays the tax.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Palm Springs Internatonal Film Festival

It was a wonderful Desert night Last night - January 5, 2010 for one of the top events of the Season in Palm Springs. The star studded opening night Gala of the 21st annual Film Festival was held in downtown Palm Springs. See a slide show of the celebrity arrival photos for the 21st annual Palm Springs International Film Festival. The Festival runs through January 18, 2010 and will feature hundreds of films in multiple theaters around town. A large international crowd is expected to visit Palm Springs during the run of the Festival.

Celebrity appearances by Anna Kendrick, Jeremy Renner, Marion Cotillard, Mariah Carey, Jeff Bridges, Quentin Tarantino, Clint Eastwood, Morgan Freeman and Helen Mirren just to name a few. The Gala was also hosted by Mary Hart Of Entertainment tonight, herself a part time Desert resident.

Monday, January 4, 2010

This Month In Real Estate USA

A quick recap from Keller Williams Realty on the National Real Estate market and trends. Real estate is always local but understanding the bigger national trends will help you fill in the gaps at the local level. Palm Springs area real estate report coming soon to this blog.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Great Price Reduction On Canyon Estates Remodel

[caption id="attachment_156" align="aligncenter" width="150" caption="Canyon Estates Beauty"][/caption]

Canyon Estates Beauty

Market Stats

For Sale

Main Features

2 Bedrooms
2 Bathrooms
Interior: 1967 sqft
Lot: 3,049 sqft


2456 S Madrona Dr
Palm Springs, CA 92264

Michael Layton

Michael Layton

Keller Williams Realty
(760) 272-5500

Listed by: Keller Williams

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Saturday, January 2, 2010

Salton Sea - Near Palm Springs CA

Huge inland body of water largest in California. Interesting history. Located about an hour East of Palm Springs CA.

Going Green Around Your Home

[caption id="attachment_145" align="alignright" width="150" caption="Greening Up Your Home"][/caption]Going green is not hard and doesn't have to cost you lots of money. Check out this link to a Going Green guide to see quick and easy things you can do around your home.

You can also check out this nice site by National Geographic for more tips and buying guides.

If you are thinking of buying or selling a home going green can save you money. Buyers are looking for these improvements to homes and as a seller you can attract a potential buyer by greening up your home. As a buyer the more efficient the home you buy the long term savings just continue to multiple.

For information on homes in the Palm Springs California area that are energy efficient and environmentally friendly be sure to see my Real Estate Website at


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